Wednesday, September 28, 2016

60 is the new 40!

Yep, today is birthday number 60!

I was gonna spend it chilling by the pool at the Condo in the town up north, sipping on a few margaritas,  but hey, why spend it alone!   Instead I'll be working at the Roses in Pearl, then time will be spent in the kitchen making cheese straws and iced sugar cookies for another football Saturday this weekend!

Some ask, "why are you working?"  As I told my boss the other day, this ain't no real job.  I'm doing something I enjoy, I'm outside, sweating off some calories, and can take off any time I want.  Got nobody barking orders, no phone calls all day long, no 200 emails to read & delete, and no boss scheming 25 different ways to run me off!

This 60 thang is like being 40 again!  The first time around was a killer!  I wake up on Monday mornings fired up ready to attack the week instead of spending Sundays dreading the week that lies ahead!

The challenges for me now are so much different than before.  Toward the end of my working career, I was in one of those self improvement workshops, where you think "yeah, been here countless times, what am I going to do to kill the next six hours."  We were tasked to write down a business plan for the rest of our lives.  What do we enjoy doing the most, what is the most fulfilling things in our lives makes us the most happy.  I don't remember who the speaker was, but boy, for some reason, his words hit me.  Up until then, I had no clue what my personal goals in life were.

 Suddenly I had an awakening!  It was there all the time, covered up in all the stresses of this "give it to me now" world I was living in.  My goal in life was and is to "bring a little happiness to somebody each and every day!"

That is a pretty simple goal, you might think.  Hard to do when you are working in a job you no longer enjoy, along side others just doing it for the paycheck.

Attitude adjusted, I made up my mind it was time for a change.  Finish out the year end troll, then begin the process of finding something else to do with my life.  Another not so easy task, since I've only had three jobs in thirty years!  But then God sent me a messsenger!  That boss that was spending so much time trying to run me off finally gave up, he "eliminated my position"!

I signed all the nondisclosure documents, took my packet and headed to the door, only stopping by my office to pick up the only things I was allowed to take, two MSU Bulldawgs that my mom had given me.

As I turned the car out of the parking lot, I looked in the mirror and saw something I had not seen in a very long time, I was smiling!  The Lord works in mysterious ways.  Weeks before all I was seeing was darkness and gloom, but now, oh the sunny days ahead!

I was only 54.5 at the time.  And now at 60, I feel younger and more invigorated than ever.  I bring a smiling face and a positive attitude to each new day.  The people working at the Home Depots can't resist my charming personality, and eventually they begin to smile a bit and begin to greet me when I enter their store.

I try to leave restaurant and fast food workers in a happier mood than before they served me.

I have to admit, my "assembler job" was a challenge for my body.  Working on my feet on concrete is a killer.  Before, old age was setting in fast and hard.  After a few weeks, my body adjusted.  I didn't  lose much weight, but I have lost an inch or two, and a bunch of fat cells have turned to muscle, just a few!  And I do enjoy long soaks in a hot tub full of bubbles!

So,  it's never too late for a life change.  Whether it's job, or habits, you too can make a change.  But you gotta start somewhere, sometime, and trust me, it's NOW!

Life is so sweet!  Get out there and enjoy!

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Game Day Funnies

Me being a Bulldawg, but with the spousal unit in her beloved land in that town up north, there are always sights and sounds to behold on football Saturday.

I'm  in the parking lot.  There is this family of five, with one of those fold up red wagons, trying to rearrange there stuff on the wagon so it can make it up the hill.  I suggest they might want to bring some bungee cords with them next time.  As they begin their journey, two of the chairs fall off the top.  These are bag chairs.  The youngest, a boy around 12, says "Dad, why don't we just carry the chairs"?  Out of the mouths of babes!

People getting busted for "exposed beer containers" is always fun to watch.  A young feller was walking pround with his 12 pack of bottle Coronas.  The Popo stops him, gives him the riot act, and instructs him to start pouring them out.  The Dude was having trouble getting the tops off.  More words with the Popo.  During this distraction, the guys mom, or much older girly friend, proceeds to pick up the remaining bottles, put them in her bag, and take off before the Popo dude could figure out what happened.

Rain was in the forecast, it was a certainty.  Thankfully it held off making for a great day of football.  However, during one of the brief moments of rain, we look up, here comes this white convertible with the top down.  The high priestess was in the passenger seat, with her umbrella up, protecting that head full of hairspray.  I'm betting that when they eventual parked, they probably locked that sucker with the top down.

One of our UPD friends goes by the name "Possum".  He has been working game day Saturdays for over 20 years.  These days he mostly directs traffic then provides security in the stands.  Our tent is next to the one for University PD.  Ole Possum came over to visit and get a bite to eat.  The. He picked up this hat and put it on:

The Grove Has Its many traditions.  One is that one must dress up in one's Sunday's best.  Some of these gals have "Sunday's best" confused with "a hot time on Saturday Night".  Others have figured out that hey, with color of the day, we can just wear a team jersey and not go for broke buying the latest fashions!

My buddy Kyle lives and breathes TSUN.  If a store has an item with "Ole Miss" on it, he has to have it.  This weekend was powder blue weekend.  Ole Kyle ended up at the Rebel store with money to burn.  Rebel Rags had these new tailgate chairs in powder blue with "Ole Miss" painted on them, and for Kyle they were a must have item.  On the way to the cash register he spotted the powder blue Ole Miss visor so he grabbed two of them.  To Kyle's surprise, the chairs were $34.99 and the visors were $35, EACH!  Chachang!!!

Our buddy Mike and his son made the trip from Wisconsin.  Mike is a die hard Rebel fan that buys season tickets, but can only make it to one or two games a year.  His son got a little too comfy in his chair.  The spousal unit started calling his name, "Brad, oh Brad....!"  He finally opened his eyes.  The spousal unit gave him the finger motion to come here.  His brain finally kicked in and up and over he went.  He was presented a field pass to enjoy the team sidelines during team warmups.  Brad's eyes nearing popped out of his head!  Thanks to nephew Justin (M Club member) for the passes!

There will always be a commotion in the stands.  In the middle of the Ole Miss Student section, there is the guy wearing an Alabama jersey, alongside his Ole Miss girly friend.  The students are giving him hell, and he is giving it right back.  He has both hands in the air with the middle finger fully extended.  By now he is being bombarded with empty cups and water bottles!  Security shows up to monitor the situation.  UPD is called in, and after a lengthy discussion, an Ole Miss student is escorted out!  It was not a good day to be a smart ass!

As the pregame was coming to an end, the student section was fired up and ready to go.  The band fired up for one more song, and in the middle of the students, out came the biggest State of Mississippi flag I had ever seen. What a nice sight to see.  Way to go students!

On our way to the parking lot, we were stopped by an Alabama couple.  "Sir, can you help us find our car?  We don't know where we are, but the car is at the corner of Washington and 5th streets.  I was not familiar with that location.  I pulled out my smartass phone, pulled up Google maps, typed in that intersection and bam! Up popped the location on the map.  I pulled back on the map and found University Avenue and and Jackson Ave for reference.  The lady did the same, and off they went.  All that Boy Scout training in my youth sure comes in handy!

We finally made it back to the car with all the gear.  Headed back to the Condo we go.  As we pull into the complex the phone rings.  It's our weekend guests, the inlaws.  Seems they are lost in the complex, they have been looking for building 34.  The spousal unit should have been an air traffic controller, as she guided them in, all the way to a parking spot at the front door!

Next weekend is another home game for the spousal unit and her Rebels.  I'm sure even more funnies await!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

New Game Day Traditions

Now that we have a Condo in that town up north (Oxford), I'm starting to get the feel for a whole new set of game day traditions.

You get up early to get your pregame setup going.  First stop is the gas station off Hwy 6 at North Lamar.  They have bulk ice, 20 lbs for 2 dollars.  It comes either bagged, or bulk into your cooler.

Unloading your car of the heavy stuff is a whole lot easier at 6:30-7:00 when there is very little activity.  The Eupora Peeps next to us are in for a rude awaking this morning.  Their usual space is one third of their usual spot.  Alabama game squatter dropped a quad set of tents in their chair sitting space!

A stop at the Kroger was full of activity.  The chips and beer guys were buzzing like worker bees, filling racks, loading the coolers and leaving pallets full in the aisles.

The local liquor store, next to one of the many Chevrons, has yard signs posting "we are now fully stocked with airplane bottles!", and expanded parking in the empty lot next door!

The last stop this early game day morning was Shipley donuts for hot and fresh for the Spousal unit!

Best part of Condo, game day, is waking up to the smell of a brisket cooking overnight in the oven.  And rotel dip with sausage will still be warm for the chafing dish when we get to the tent site.

These traditions will have a whole lot more added as the weeks go by.  And if we can just get here on Thursday or early Friday a time or two...

Are you ready???!!!  Almost!  TI me for a quick shower and a five minute ride to heaven!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Not So Funny Thing Happens on the Way Home

We have been on the road for hours, heading home from our trip to Orlando.  We're on I-10, about 20 miles east of Pensacola, cruising along, about to pass an 18 wheeler, when all of a sudden......

The dash board lit up with five sensor warnings.  The engine went from 1500 rpms to 5000!  What the hell???

The sensors were saying:  check engine light, emmisson system warning, transmission warning, blind spot warning, and no cruise control warning.  Dang!  Only 15,000 mIles on this sucker!

The spousal unit was driving at the time, looks at me, "do I pull over? Or keep going?"  The engine was still running, car was moving, at 5000 rpms, don't stop, phone calls were being made.

First call to Acura of Jackson:  "sorry, we're short on service technicians today, one moment please.  Service tech:  with what you are saying, we would need to hook it up to the diagnostic machine to determine what is wrong.  I guess you can pull over, kill the engine and try again."

At this moment I don't think I said "bull shit" but I sure thought it, and then some.  Next call was to the salesman to see what our options for getting home would be.  More of the same, "I'm on my cell phone and can't transfer to the service department".  Sorry we've been there, done that!

My Boy Scout training then went into high gear.  Smartazz phone here we come.  Internet search for the nearest Acura dealership.  It's now 3:30, hopefully there is one that will be open when we get there and they can do the diagnostics!  Ah, Joe Bullard Acura, Mobile, AL here we come!

A call to Joe Bullard.   We explained our situation, about an hour away according to Google maps. Their service technicians usually shut down at 5:00 each day. They say, "bring it in, we will have a tech here waiting for you."  Yes!!!

We make it to Joe Bullard Acura.  There are three cars in the service assessment area already, now 4:30, oh boy.  We explain who we are, and our issues, and we called ahead for advice.  The service manager hears our name, and he is "Johnny on the spot".  He barks "send that car to diagnostics immediately,  and do not turn off the engine!"  I'm  liking the sound of that already!

They confirm that 5 sensors have gone waco.  The transmission is not communicating.   There are two computers under the hood, one is easy, the other is inside the transmission,  not so easy.

An hour and a half later:  we need to do a full diagnostic run.  The error messages have never been seen on this model by Acura before.  We will get you some transportation to get home.  Major relief, especially since we had two other passengers with us!

There were no SUVS available at the local Hertz.  All their loaner cars were out.   They gave us the keys to another MDX that they were using off the used car lot, with less than 7000 miles.  Joe Bullard Acura, you are the bomb!

When our car is ready, I will have to return their car to pick up ours.  No big deal.  Somebody is gonna get some cheese straws as a big thank you on the return trip.

If you live in the Mobile area and are looking for a car in the near future, check out the Joe Bullard dealerships along I-65.  I don't know about their sales departments, but their service is top knotch!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Camping World Stadium :-(

The Spousal Unit and I are on a mission at our 50+ stage in life to do as much as we can, while we can, so that when we are stuck in our rocking chairs at the retirement home, we will have our memories of good times to entertain us.  Visiting college bowl game stadiums is one of those bucket list items.

The old Citrus Bowl, now Camping World Stadium, was on the list.  Where to park?  After a long search of the internet, the Geico Garage, next to the Amway Center looked to be a good choice, a mile or so away from the stadium, but free shuttle service, which was the absolute bomb!

The stadium was rebuilt last year.  They kept the upper decks, but ripped out all the lower sections and rebuilt it with chair back seating, to bring it up to NFL standards.

We were not allowed to enter the stadium at any gate but the one on our ticket.  Really?  At least they had escalators to the upper levels.

We arrived at our seats, to discover the metal bleachers (yep, upper deck) still had standing water in them.  Plus, these wet spots were full of mold.  Attendants were cleaning them one hour before kickoff!  I can understand the water, but why were they still lined with black mold???

Since we had arrived early, we could relax and get a bite to eat.  Off to the concession stands I went.  I look at the menu boards, most of which are covered over with a paper sign indicating the only items available were a hot dog and an Italian sausage.

All of the attendants were Hispanic.  I asked for "two hot dogs and a sausage dawg".  They just looked at me, like "huh???"  I said it again, very slowly.  It did not register.  I'm thinking, you have got to be kidding!  Finally their supervisor walked up and said something in Spanish.  They then handed me two hot dogs.  No sausage dog.  Our bottled water was handed over with no top.  Dang, what kinda place is this???  I attempted to ask for "mustard" and got more blank stares!

I gave up, and went to the next concession window for maybe some better luck.  Whew! There were two English speaking workers and they had mustard at the end of the counter!  Got my sausage dawg and we were on our way!

During the game, we saw a popcorn vendor one time.  There were plenty of "ice cold beer" vendors throughout the game.  Most of the beer was served in 24 inch cans with the top popped, which was understandable.

At halftime, the concession lines were backed up to the airport.  All the food items were gone long ago.  Beer and water were being dropped into one end of these troughs and being served out of the other.  I ordered two waters and a diet pepsi, total $15.50 and paid with a $20.  I was given $4 and the gal went looking for quarters.  I'm standing there with $4 and no drinks .  I ask the other attendant, "can I have my drinks?"  I get that look again,  "no habla English".  The first attendant finally returns, no quarters, and I ask her for my drinks.  She replied "but I don't have the rest of your change!  I just replied "keep the change, drinks please!"  The people behind me can't believe what they are seeing either!

Game over, time to leave.  We reach the escalators, which are now all moving downward, thankfully!  The attendants are only allowing ten people at a time to get on these escalators.   Really???  They just revovated this stadium within the past nine months, but the escalators can't handle the weight???

Once you reached street level, you could not see where the streets were because of all the people leaving at the same time.  All of the fans had only one route back to the parking lots and shuttle buses!

Thankfully they knew what they were doing at the shuttle bus station.  It only took us about 30-45 minutes to board.

Lots of people came by Uber, including some of our friends.  Even back at the parking garages they were not getting through on the Uber app on their phones.  Just too many requests for their system to handle in Downtown Orlando.

We can mark off the old Citrus Bowl off our list.  On a scale of 1 to 10, they get a 4.  The atmosphere was great, the FSU fans in our section were great, but this newly remodeled stadium did not deliver.

Time for the next bucket list item!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Funnies at Universal Studios

The day before the big game we ended up at Universal Studios for a good time with friends.

There are three "best times" when visiting an amusement park: 1.  Your very first visit, 2. The first time you take your kids, and 3. When you take people that have never been!  This trip was a first for our friends!

At the entrance, parking was $20, so I handed the attendant a $20.  He asked me "would you like preferred parking"?  Me: "for $20?"  Him: "no, $10 more".  Oh Lordty!  I thought $20 was bad enough!

When you park at Universal Studios you are in one of several parking garages.  Take a picture of your parking spot with your smartazz phone so you don't  have to remember where you parked.

Before you get to security, make sure your spousal unit is carrying the backpack.  That way you can go through the fast line through the metal detectors.  My spousal unit is gonna get checked anyway because of all the metal in her hips and knees!

At Universal, buy your tickets online and save yourself about $20.  Our visit was last minute so no savings there.  They were not selling the "single park" ticket today, the cheapest being the "one day, park to park".  When boarding the Harry Potter train, you have to use your "park to park" ticket or a multi-day ticket.  Not sure why this was an issue today since no "single park" tickets were being sold.

When you enter the park they require a finger scan with your ticket and they ask you to sign your ticket.  This makes it easier on you and them when you use your ticket at the train or a second day admission.  Just be sure to use the same finger on the scan!

Dining in Harry Potter land can be challenging.   Some of the places serve "English Pub fare".  If you don't read the menu closely, you end up spending a lot of time asking the check out clerk "what is this, what is that?"

Before standing in a line for a motion ride, make sure those in your party are actually going to ride the ride!  Now that is a time saver!

In Harry Potter land,   be sure to walk thru the inside theme rides with your party even if you're not going to ride the ride.  You get to check out all the stuff that leads up to the ride, then you meet your friends at the end.

Be sure to pack a poncho.  When in Florida it will rain, and you will get wet.  It is so funny to see the "wet tshirt contest" after a downpour!

During our ride on the train, a little girl was in our cabin.  It was obvious that this was not her first rodeo.  She explained to "us adults" that there will be pictures to see thru this window on the trip, but "they aren't real".  I told her to use her magic wand and cast a spell to make them real!  She gave me one of those looks like "really?"

There is a shop that sells a giant donut, with sprinkles etc.... that comes in a box.  I suggest you buy that sucker at the end of the day or you're gonna be carrying that thing all day!

We were in line for the Jurassic Park ride, when it and a lot of others were shut down because of approaching bad weather.  We made our way to "King Kong Skull Island" at the suggestion of the announcer, since it was an indoor ride.  It's a new one we haven't seen before, so okay.  Get there, seems everyone is there, and there is a two hour wait!  The rain is now a downpour and to heck with a 2 hour line!  To the car we went!

It was so funny watching and looking at the people in the rain.  Some were jumping up and down making big splashes, some could have won first prize at a wet tshirt contest, and others were complaining about being all wet, and we were in the water ride section of the park at the time!

We made it back to our resort earlier than anticipated, but some were needing the head start on resting up for the next day.  Glad we have a washer and dryer, as the dryer ran for over 4 hours drying out those wet shoes!

The spousal unit and I had our heads on our pillows and I asked her "will we be doing this when we are 70 or 80???  HYDR!!

The next adventure for us is always just around the corner.  Shoes are dry and clean clothes are at the ready, can't wait!!!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Roadie trip to Orlando

Time for the roadie trip to Orlando to see the spousal unit's Rebels play Florida State on Monday night.  With a 7:00 a.m. departure and 11 hours of driving, it was gonna be a long day.

I gave up fast driving long ago, glad I did!  Being a holiday weekend, I spotted six of MHP's finest before reaching I-10.  Eventually that number hit 10 before we reached our destination.  I my age, I'm glad these guys were out there working!

Around the 11:00 hour I found my Bulldogs on the radio.  As we were approaching Tallahassee,  our travel mate Jackie asks "how are you getting that game on your radio all the way down here???"  The look on her face when the words "satellite radio" registered in her head!  We had quite the laugh on that one!  Unfortunately it was not a happy ending for me or the Bullypups.  Gonna be a looonnnggg season....

I asked our other travel mate Taylor if she liked Steak & Shake?  She had never been.  The location in Tallahassee is one of my travel stops.  I was building it up big time with Taylor.  As we approached,  around 2:00 est, I noticed that the McD's parking lot was empty.  Then I realized that the Steak & Shake next door was closed too!  WTH???  Apparently the storm that came thru last night had knocked out the power on that side of the Interstate.   Sadly we ended up at Wendy's, which was short on its crew and running short on lots of food items as well.  I'm betting they had one of their biggest day ever due to that storm.

Driving further down the road, I got honked at by a Hummer all decked out in Rebel red and white with a bunch of blue magnets on the fenders.  I was then reminded by the spousal unit that she too had covered her car in similar magnetic signs.  Being a Bulldawg, I don't know how to respond to all this hotty toddy, land shark roadie sign language.  Gonna have to get educated on a better sign language reply other than a middle finger! (Joking!!)

After a driver swap, the spousal unit got "tomahawked " by a passing Florida State Car.  The Spousal unit did her best attempt at honking Dixie back at them!

We finally got checked in and met up with our buddy Paul.  It as almost 8:00 est and the hunger pains were kicking in.  Time to use my Landry Select Dining Card!

All five of us loaded up and headed to Disney Springs.  I had to show off the new parking garages.  The signs said "full"  but at that time of night there had to be an empty space or three.  My passengers were amazed to see all the electronics in the garage, telling you how many spaces were available on each row and where the empty slots were.  I just love these high tech garages!

Our destination was Trexx, especially since I had a $25 birthday credit on my card.  My friends were amazed as we walked to the head of the line, passing tons of people, and got first available seating, the best benefit of the dining club!

My buddy Taylor ordered a "blue icee" and the waiter talked her into a souvenir cup.  Oh the laugh we got out of this!

The waiter was from St. Petersburg Russia.  Paul asked him "what cut of meat was a flat iron steak?"  The waiters response was "beef".  What a hoot!

Before we left, we had taught the waiter "hotty toddy " and I  made sure to remind him to say it to any Florida State fans he had as guests this weekend, since it was a special football greeting!

Back at the room, Paul's wife Emily and her niece arrived around 1:00 a.m.  we got a kick out of an item she brought for the trip.  We are all staying in a 3 bedroom HGVC condo, and she was worried about needing extra towels and bed linens.  I told her not to worry, but if she was a heavy user of TP, she might want to bring an extra roll.  She brought this huge multipack!

I can't wait to see what else this adventure has in store for us!